Tono Mejuto. Symphony to be interpreted by two eyes

May 31, 2018 | Interviews

Tono Mejuto. Photo: María Meseguer

Tono Mejuto presents in the (S8) Reliefs: a stereoscopic symphony of the city of Toronto built in the first BAICC residence.
Both in Reliefs and in the work presented last year, Quiasma, there is a concern to address the temporal, through, for example, the overlapping of images. Can you tell us about that?
Reliefs starts both from filming and stereoscopic projection, by filming with two 16mm Bolex cameras in principle not prepared for that. As perfect synchronization between the two cameras is not possible, I have tried to work with that displacement of time for each eye. The space you build through the two images, through the coding of each of the images for each eye. But I did not count on that when I started filming and seeing evidence, with which the head constructs synchronization: two images moved slightly from one moment to another, the head unifies them in a single image, associates that in a same space with a certain movement those two images have to be in sync even if the projection is not. There is a nice game.
You talk about the viewer’s perception, his participation. With regard to that, in the project of your work you speak of the “haptic quality” of images…
There is an intention in this work of experimentation or of search in the own language, on how to construct roads facing the perception of the image and the relation with it. I established a link between the eyes and the hands in the text: how the hands of the pianist, who aspire to autonomy, to be able to develop a certain movement and then build something together, relate to that way of undoing the perceptive mechanisms to rebuild them later. I am interested in that kind of proprioception, how we perceive the world, how we face reality and experience things.
You do make a distinction between the current use of 3D and the one you make, and the reason why you decide to do it analog…
I think it could be done in any medium. In my case, I think that rather than looking for a specific result, I use analog because limits help me get somewhere, and deal with frustration. Yes, it is true that 3D regarding commercial rooms have focused more on that construction of excessive depth, looking for those visual effects of surprise and fright. What I do has more to do with that experience of looking at those postcards of the city with the stereoscopic viewer or other types of stereoscopic photographic and also pre-photographic experiences, stereoscopy is something that comes before photography.
You talk as a reference about the symphonies of a city of Ivens or Ruttman, how do you build this in Toronto, a new city for you?
On the one hand, I had this initial idea of symphony where there would be a very present rhythm for these referents that I like, and that have that link with architecture and life in the city. When I arrived in Toronto I had to develop the technology with which I was going to film during the first weeks and at the same time get to know the city, exploring and seeing where to focus my path, also very limited to what kind of shots I could shoot and how those two cameras worked well for what I wanted to achieve. Then, in the end, I got a kind of symphony in three acts, but with a much calmer time, a suspended time rather where movement is somewhat slower.
How do you approach the sound of your work?
During the time that I was recording independently of the filming, and at the time of filming I was defining three main scenarios: on the one hand the underground filming, which would be the subway, on the other hand the filming on the surface that was mostly in the places next to LIFT, which is an area with a lot of immigration, any neighborhood of Toronto, and then the Downtown, the financial district, where I focused mostly on the skies, completing that vision of the city on three levels. Through these three landscapes, I was collecting sounds that in the end are not much in the movie or almost nothing. I then built a soundtrack of things I was hearing and that accompanied me at that time in Toronto. There I was very aware of the fact that Glenn Gould was from Toronto and I wanted to incorporate him, I had an initial idea where there was going to be a work by Schönberg that played Glenn Gould and orchestra, but that in the end did not match well with the final rhythm of the film, and I’ve gone to the end elsewhere, in a rather haphazard way.